Every day Harrison takes a drug meant to keep his cancer it check. It’s just part of the drill for a child with an incurable cancer. In many way, his daily dose of Gleevec has become just another part of life, like brushing his teeth or working out. While nothing says, “You will always have to fight cancer,” like taking drugs every day, none of us really associates the ongoing threat of a cancer relapse with his Gleevec.
But once a month we all get a wet towel to the face that screams, “You will never be free!” From all appearances Harrison’s monthly visit to the hospital is a routine checkup. He gets weight and measured, opens up and says “Ahhh,” and stretches out his arm from a blood draw.
But all around are reminders of Harrison’s journey. Children and teenagers of all ages, sitting in the waiting room. For some, this is there first visit to the clinic after diagnosis. I remember that first time Harrison got chemo as an outpatient. Disbelief. Surreality. Fear. Bewilderment.
Others, like Harrison, will find their visit to be old hat. They know the drill.
And while the procedures themselves will be routine, the impatient waiting for a the “all clear” will be anything but routine. Every few minutes we check the website for Harrison’s report. At some point, a nameless, faceless (to us) professional at the hospital will type in Harrison’s counts. Eventually, we will access them.
And somewhere we hope to see a simple statement, “No evidence of blasts.”
Tuesday is that day for Harrison. He’ll go to soccer camp early in the morning, come home for a quick shower, then head off to Chapel Hill for his “routine” appointment. Thanks for your kind prayers.